Mullenweg Ramps Up Communication Ahead of WordPress 5.0 Release, RC2 Now Available

WordPress 5.0 RC2 was released today with 15 notable updates, including improvements to block preview styling, browser-specific bug fixes, and other changes. RC2 was released simultaneously with Gutenberg version 4.6.

The official release date for WordPress 5.0 has not yet been announced, because it depends on feedback from RC2 testing. Contributors’ uneasiness with not having an official release date seemed to reach a critical tipping point during this week’s WordPress dev chat, as many participants pressured Matt Mullenweg, who is leading the release, to give more information on when they can expect 5.0.

“It is very important that we have a release date to aim for,” ACF founder Elliot Condon said. “I’m finding the current ‘waiting game’ quite stressful, and I suspect a few other developers will share the same feeling.”

Tensions were high as contributors cited various reasons for wanting a date, including companies needing support staff on hand, upcoming holidays, documentation planning, and the importance of user trust.

“We’re determining the release date based on the open issues,” Mullenweg said. “Please consider it as coming as soon as possible, when everything is resolved.”

“I hope it’s clear we’re trying to get this out as soon as possible, but don’t yet have enough data to announce an official date. As mentioned last week we have done a number of December releases in the past, and may this time, but don’t have enough data to announce a new date yet.”

Mullenweg also urged dev chat attendees to keep in mind that any site administrators can install the Classic Editor plugin to keep the current editing experience, regardless of the 5.0 release date. He said the date will be announced via a P2 post, not during a dev chat.

“If you want to know what to plan on, please don’t hold anything back based on expected dates, please test or deploy the RCs, that’s what they’re for,” Mullenweg said.

In the meantime, Mullenweg is spending the weekend taking questions from the community during 24 office hours slots. He also published a lengthy post titled “WordPress 5.0: A Gutenberg FAQ,” which reaffirms WordPress’ mission in the context of Gutenberg. It answers questions like “Why do we need Gutenberg at all?” and “Why blocks?”

“I knew we would be taking a big leap,” Mullenweg said. “But it’s a leap we need to take, and I think the end result is going to open up many new opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem, and for those being introduced to WordPress for the first time. It brings us closer to our mission of democratizing publishing for everyone.”

The stats Mullenweg cited about previously having 9 major WordPress releases in December (34% of all releases in the last decade) indicate that a December release may still be on the table. His post addresses the perceived urgency behind getting Gutenberg out the door and into the hands of users. In evaluating WordPress 5.0’s readiness, he said it’s important to differentiate between the code being ready and the community being ready.

“In the recent debate over Gutenberg readiness, I think it’s important to understand the difference between Gutenberg being ready code-wise (it is now), and whether the entire community is ready for Gutenberg,” Mullenweg said.

“It will take some time — we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all — but the global WordPress community has some of the world’s most talented contributors and we can make it as good as we want to make it.”

The post also offers a preview of where Gutenberg is going in the next site customization phase and how it will change the way users build their sites.

“The Editor is just the start,” he said. “In upcoming phases blocks will become a fundamental part of entire site templates and designs. It’s currently a struggle to use the Customizer and figure out how to edit sections like menus, headers, and footers. With blocks, people will be able to edit and manipulate everything on their site without having to understand where WordPress hides everything behind the scenes.”

Mullenweg said he plans to talk more about the next phases following site customization during the State of the Word address at WordCamp US. If you have questions about Gutenberg and where it’s headed, the comments are open on his post.

18 Comments


    1. That’s what I was wondering too. It seems like they just threw the proposed dates out the window.

      Hopefully we get a confirmed release date soon.

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  1. Communication? Changing the customizer? Those are good news.
    Really hope the new customizer will end up having a usable UI that is neither as narrow as the current one nor as unintuitive as that of GB.

    What if Autmattic would hire this time a UX-designer, or if folks would begin fundrising for that purpose? I tell that just because it is the right time doing so now not later ;-)

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  2. ‘It will take some time — we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all’

    This makes me cringe. Core works, but it’s a mess that desperately needs cleaning and updating to modern PHP standards.

    I hope there will be a release date on the table. What Gutenberg mainly needs is a firm confirmation that it will not be send out buggy (a previous update last week crashed any custom post type, just to name something ) .

    The community will be ready when Gberg is something that works intuitively and will not result in a rollercoaster of updates, unpredicted results and more updates. That’s ok for a hobby site, not something you want to base a business on.

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    1. ” we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all’

      Why do I get the feeling that the version of WP in Matt’s head is a 180 from the version of WP the rest of work with on the day to day basis?

      Matt should get an office in Washington DC. His sense of disconnect would fit in well there.

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    2. ‘It will take some time — we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all’

      This makes me cringe. Core works, but it’s a mess that desperately needs cleaning and updating to modern PHP standards.

      My thoughts exactly. Not only updating to use more modern PHP features (ESPECIALLY namespacing and OO encapsulation), but updating the API itself. It’s a mish-mash of accumulated experiments and learning desperately in need of a thorough redesign.

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  3. “ I think it’s important to understand the difference between Gutenberg being ready code-wise (it is now), and whether the entire community is ready for Gutenberg,” That says is all really. Gutenberg has been developed with code in mind rather than designed with humans in mind.

    Such a shame to see WordPress become the new Firefox.

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    1. Code is ready? Seriously? Did you read a few of long open tickets full of hacky hacks just to get REST API sort of work for all those Ajax requests and not totally killing every server? Just one example, the code is a total mess… so many dev hours wasted.

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  4. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should – that’s something that Matt has got to learn.

    Just because 9 previous WordPress core updates were released in December doesn’t mean diddly.

    The uptake of WordPress by businesses large and small has grown incredibly over the last few years and what business has time to stuff around trying to fix problems with their website in December?

    Somewhere in the back of my mind is what happened when Google updated once in December … the Florida update killed lots of small businesses stone dead.

    I’m sure that none of us would want to see that because of a WordPress update.

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  5. As being a Company Owner I can understand the situation matt is going through, but at the other side we are also waiting to update our products accordingly.
    We simultaneously update our clients on the WP updates but this time it is hard to make them understand about the delay of the release. I hope this will be resolved ASAP

    And Thanks to WP Marketing Team to make things more favorable at the client’s side by making Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 Updates a BuZz.

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  6. The Customizer is an absolute hash-up with few themes -even from the same developer- having exactly the same layout.
    Customization is something that should be in the theme, not the core. Suffusion was an excellent example of a well thought out customizable theme but Mullenweg and cohorts kicked it out because it didn’t mesh with their idea of customization.
    Gutenberg is yet another thing being foisted upon an “unwanting” world. By all means offer it as an option but there are already excellent page builders out there which do the job even better.

    Perhaps WP should consider two branches – the one that everyone can use in everyday work (next stop WP 4.10.0…) and “bleeding-edge” (5.0 or even 7.0).

    As for all you developers sitting on the edge of your chairs waiting for 5.0 to go live; surely the most important thing is security. You already have your base and are working with it. Why the urgency for 5.0. As any old lag will tell you, you should never install a .0 version anyway – remember Windows 3.0, remember Novell 4.0 and 5.0 just to name a couple?

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  7. It’s quite clear that Mullenweg is not listening to any of the concerns raised by the wider WordPress community, instead all he’s interested in is obsessing with his PR campaign.
    Developers and users want clarity about dates because they need to make contingency arrangements. Surely Mullenweg doesn’t expect users to have people hanging around indefinitely on the off chance that at some vague point between now and the end of January he declares Gutenberg to be fit for purpose.
    It’s a shameful way to treat the thousands who have remained loyal to WP over the years and have helped to make it the huge player it is now.

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    1. or it could be that a tiny loud minority of developers don’t like change and just rant around.

      Shame on them for using a FREE product to make money yet don’t adapt to new things.

      Gutenberg is coming, nothing anyone can do about it. A lot of members of the community love Gutenberg.

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      1. Actually there’s a lot that you can do about it, such as moving to a community-driven platform like ClassicPress.

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      2. 25 years. That’s how long I’ve been a developer. Change is a daily part of life. It’s not something that bothers me, it’s something I embrace.

        I’ve seen the opinion you posted used many times on the topic of Gutenberg and I assure you that it’s not valid. There are legitimate concerns over the product and the way feedback has been treated.

        If Gutenberg was really a “next generation” editor then there would be far more people talking about how awesome it is and showcasing the fantastic things they’ve built with it. But that’s not the reality.

        Then again, maybe the real problem is how few people grasp what’s important in web development today and thus don’t understand what Gutenberg is trying to accomplish.

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      3. If I got a dollar everytime you and others said “some developers don’t like change”, I’d be filthy rich by now.

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      4. You’ve said many times that people who don’t like Gutenberg are afraid of change, in spite of getting several explanations, techinical and busiess, as to why GB is on thin ice.

        Perhaps you could enlighten us as to why you would make such an accusation. What is your background? Are you a plugin developer? Are you a theme developer? Have you made any sales? Are you a business owner that needs to support normal users using the backend? Have you ever used a real page builder such as Elementor, Visual Composer or Beaver?

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      5. Tiny? You haven’t been paying attention.

        Also, “it’s free so deal with it”, really?

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